Tokyo’s Bicycle

I first heard about Tokyobike from a Japanese TV show where a group of British tourists were talking about Tokyobike and how popular it is in London. My first thought was how ironic that Tokyoites were buying London Brompton Bikes, while Londoners were buying Tokyobikes. I’ve been staying here in Tokyo for about ten years now,…

Birthplace of Tennis in Japan

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play tennis at Yamate Park in Yokohama. The Meetup organizer named the event “Playing tennis at the first place of tennis in Japan,” so it was more than enough to attract my attention, and make me take that 1.5 hour train ride from where I live, just…

Earning Zero Mileage Points

Last month, my wife and I took a short trip to Europe flying Qatar Airways. Being a long flight halfway around the world, I was a little curious as to how many mileage points I would get. I later checked my JAL Mileage Bank report (JAL and Qatar Airways are both members of OneWorld), and was a bit…

Joanna of Vienna

We Filipinos are very good in recognizing other Filipinos wherever we are in the world. We know it immediately even without saying or hearing a word. We can tell by the way we smile, or the way we make eye contact. We just know. And once we make a positive identification, a simple “kumusta po?”…

Sold my iMac for 29K yen

I’ve had my iMac for more than 6 years now, and after discussions with my wife, we decided it’s time to get a new one. Now the question is, what to do with the old iMac. Send it home The first thing to come to mind is to send it back to the Philippines. For…

Philippine Elections 2016 on Google Trends

I did a quick search on Google Trends with regard to our five presidential candidates and the result I got is interesting, but not at all surprising. If the Philippine Elections were a contest on who generates the most online buzz, i.e. “trending”, there seems to be one clear winner — Rodrigo Duterte. It’s not even close. Of…

Azaleas of Minami-Senju

Not known to many people, but Minami-Senju is kind of a hidden gem, known among the locals and hobbyist photographers for azalea spring viewing. The blooms usually start after the sakura cherry blossoms season (mid-April), and last a couple of weeks until around the Japanese golden week (early-May). During this period, the sidewalks and the center…

Playing The Blame Game

The other day, I was having this somewhat philosophical discussion with one of my managers and one question raised was “When a student fails a test, who should we blame?”

Three Day Weekend in Kyushu

Last month during the three day weekend (March 19-21), my wife and I went on a trip to Kyushu, in particular in Fukuoka and Mount Aso in Kumamoto. Day One in Fukuoka Interestingly, the first thing people ask me when I tell them I am going to Fukuoka is, “What’s in Fukuoka?”. Aside from tonkotsu…

Filipinos Applying For Schengen Visa from Japan

My wife and I just received our Schengen Visas today, and to help other Filipinos who would also like to visit the Schengen Area, let me share our experience getting it. We were planning to visit Austria and Germany in May so we figured two months before our planned trip would be a good time…

Moriyama Naotaro’s "Sakura"

Moriyama Naotaro’s Sakura is a classic Japanese song that I associate heavily with the cherry blossoms season (“sakura” is Japanese for cherry blossoms) and with graduation ceremonies. It is definitely one of my favorite Japanese songs and when I see cherry blossoms, this is always the first song that comes to mind. Original Singer: Moriyama…